RUMFORD — The Clothesline Project came to Rumford Public Library on Thursday afternoon, and with it, some newly decorated T-shirts expressing how it feels to be abused or to be freed from abuse.

The Clothesline Project was brought to the River Valley by Beth McIntyre, a sexual abuse survivor and educator and support group facilitator for the Rape Education and Crisis Hotline of Oxford County.

R.E.A.C.H. maintains a 24/7 hotline at 1-800-871-7741 where staff or volunteer advocates can provide free and confidential information to anyone who needs it. The group also educates youngsters from prekindergarten through college, law enforcement, teachers, parents and others. Its staff also can accompany victims to the hospital, if necessary, or to court.

McIntyre had made a presentation to several grades at Meroby Elementary School last week, and is scheduled to present another T-shirt workshop Monday at the First Parish Congregational Church in Bethel.

At Thursday’s workshop, participants who have been sexually abused or assaulted were encouraged to express their feelings on blank, white T-shirts with paints or markers.

Those T-shirts along with R.E.A.C.H. representatives and other people, will be brought to the State House in Augusta in August as part of a display sponsored by the Maine Coalition to End Sexual Assault.

McIntyre said T-shirts created by several groups from across Maine appeared at last year’s State House event and an equal number are expected this year.

In a related event, Oxford County R.E.A.C.H. is hosting two performances of “The Vagina Monologues” next month. Women from the Bethel area will perform the play at 7 p.m. May 6 at the Telstar High School auditorium in Bethel. Women from the Rumford area will perform the play at 7 p.m. May 13 at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

Admission is $12 for advance tickets and $15 at the door, and $10 for seniors and older teens. Proceeds will benefit REACH programs, as well as a  program against sexual violence of women and girls in Haiti.

The Clothesline Project started in Cape Cod, Mass., in 1990. In 1998, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault created a Clothesline Project for Maine.

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